NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called on Russia on Friday to be open about its “Zapad-2021” military exercises and the troop numbers involved as alarm grows in Poland, the Baltics and Ukraine about Moscow’s intentions.

Previous “Zapad”, or West, exercises along the border that Russia shares with NATO have been on a vast scale, according to allied officials, who say Moscow has habitually underreported their size despite international rules.

The Zapad maneuvers, which follow a Russian military buildup on Ukraine’s borders this year, heighten the risk of an accident or miscalculation that could touch off a crisis, NATO officials have said.

According to a tally by NATO Review, an allied magazine, Russia deployed between 60,000 and 70,000 troops in Zapad-2017 but only declared 12,700 personnel. The main phase of the exercises is due to start on Sept. 10.

Source – Reuters